Children of the Snow Land is Directed & Produced by Zara Balfour & Marcus Stephenson
Executive Producer: Christopher Hird
Editor: Graham Taylor
ZARA BALFOUR - Director / Producer
Zara is an award-winning director / producer with over 17 years experience in
all forms of documentary and content. She is creative director of independent
production company Picture on the Wall.
Zara started in the industry as an actress. Her lead role in the TV drama 'A Little
Rain Must Fall' won her accolades from the head of BBC Film and Single Drama
and was described by the film’s patron Sir Nigel Hawthorne as “a splendid piece”.
Zara later moved behind the camera to work on feature films, short films and
theatre productions. Her short films won prizes at festivals worldwide: Berlin Film Festival (winner of the the Prix UIP for Best European Short Film), London Film Festival, European Film Awards, Sarajevo, Telluride, Warp Records v Creative Review Awards, New York Film Festival and Cannes Lions among others.
Moving into feature documentary, Zara worked closely with director Sophie Fiennes on production of Hoover Street Revival for the BBC’s Storyville strand and The Film Council’s New Cinema Fund.
Zara then moved on to producing commercials, branded content and documentary films about charities and sustainable development for many companies including Bob Geldof’s Band Aid. Zara has specialised in filming internationally, having filmed in over 20 countries; often documenting community projects in developing countries.
For four years, Zara worked at COI producing and directing Government commercials and several documentaries focusing on British behaviour abroad. Whilst there, Princess Beatrice shadowed her for work experience. Zara also directed a documentary about comedians’ reading habits, featuring Lenny Henry, Ronnie Corbett, Sean Lock, Jo Brand, Lee Mack, Meera Syal, Omid Djalili, Bill Bailey and Vic Reeves.
Zara recently spent two years as part of Google Creative Lab, producing and directing films with subjects ranging from a kids TV series for Czech television, to documentaries about charity projects in Africa, educational case studies, commercials, and everything in between. Working within Google and YouTube also gave Zara a thorough understanding of evolving viewer habits and social media trends. She then worked at the advertising agency McCann London as executive producer, making numerous TV commercials and a series of branded documentary films for the BRIT Awards with Mark Ronson (Webby Award winner), Ellie Goulding and Robbie Williams.
Children of the Snow Land is Zara's first feature documentary.
MARCUS STEPHENSON - Director / Producer
Marcus is a multi award winning Exec, Director, producer, writer and editor
with 19 years experience in broadcast television and digital communication.
Producer and devisor of innovative, well crafted and entertaining
documentaries and factual television. Owner and Director of Mayfly
Television, formed in May 2015 and which has won two major commissions
from Channel 4 television to date.
Marcus started his television career as a video editor, cutting his teeth on
hundreds of hours of programmes in a wide range of genres including
specialist factual, heritage, gardening, children’s, food, and observational
documentary series. 10 years in this role proved a strong foundation for decisive directing and
production and he still loves to get his hands on the Avid keyboard when he gets the time!
At the age of 24 he devised, pitched and was commissioned to make Everyone’s a Winner – an observational documentary series about new UK Lottery winners, securing unprecedented access to winners from as early as the day of the win and following their lives over a year. Two series were delivered without exec level input and won 1-2m viewers and critical acclaim.
Since then Marcus has worked in many fields of moving image from producing music videos (MTV award for Coldplay: Trouble; Grammy Award for One Giant Leap: My Culture), brand films for multinationals (including Rolls Royce, HSBC, Sony, Skype), and winning numerous IVCA Awards for his specialty: Beautifully shot, human interest brand films with strong storytelling.
Since forming Mayfly Television in 2015 Marcus has won the following major UK television commissions of new formats he devised:
Channel 4: Britain At Dinner – A new observational food format looking at the power-play of the modern domestic kitchen. Broadcast pilot produced and format licensed internationally.
More4: Stately Homemaking – Major new documentary series taking a fresh look at Britain’s priceless heritage houses, by re-telling the stories of their creation, presented by Phil Spencer.
Children of the Snow Land is his first feature documentary.
GRAHAM TAYLOR - Film Editor
Graham Taylor is a talented and innovative film editor working in long form
documentaries predominantly, but also drama, commercials and arts projects.
He specialises in bold, ground-breaking projects and human interest stories.
Graham edited the recent feature documentaries 'Chemsex' (VICE) which
achieved LFF & IDFA official selection 2015 and 'Death of a Gentleman'
(Dartmouth Films) which was selected for Official Selection at
Sheffield Doc Fest 2015.
Graham has also edited numerous 60 minute documentaries for BBC, Channel 4
and PBS, including This World, ONE Life and Cutting Edge strands.
His recent film ‘Children of the Gaza War’ for BBC2 is currently nominated for a BAFTA, and ‘Our War: The Invisible Enemy’ for BBC about British soldiers in Afghanistan won a BAFTA for Best Factual Series 2012 as well as Grierson Awards. His ‘Kangaroo Dundee - Natural World Special’ was nominated for ‘Best Wildlife Documentary 2013’ by The Grierson Trust.
Graham’s other recent 60 minute documentaries include this year’s ‘Saudi Arabia Uncovered’ for PBS and ITV, ‘Solitary Nation’ for PBS about solitary confinement in US prisons, ‘How We Invented the World’ for US Discovery and ‘A Tale of Two Chinas’ for Channel 4, among many others.
CHILDREN OF THE SNOW LAND © Mayfly TV & Picture on the Wall 2017